IG: DHS makes progress on managing acquisition
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Dec 15, 2008
After five years in operation, the Homeland Security Department
hasn't achieved many of the milestones needed for conducting effective
acquisitions, according to a report from DHS Inspector General Richard
Skinner released today.
Skinner, in his annual update on major
management challenges at DHS, rated progress on acquisition management
as “modest.” The department obligated contracts for about $12 billion
in fiscal 2007, which was about 40 percent of its budget.
“While some improvements have been made, many of the critical success factors have not yet been achieved,” Skinner wrote.
The report follows a Government Accountability Office report that
criticized DHS' management and oversight of major programs. Both
reports were completed in November, but the IG released its report
publicly just today.
did better in other areas, scoring “moderate” improvement in
information technology management and in catastrophic disaster response
and recovery. It also scored modestly in financial management.
Skinner identified five other major management challenges but did not provide detailed score cards on those areas.
acquisition management, the department showed modest progress in the
key areas of organizational alignment and leadership; policies and
processes; acquisition workforce; and knowledge management and IT.
department continues to face challenges associated with implementing an
acquisition function that is not fully integrated,” the report said.
The structure of DHS' acquisition function creates ambiguity about who
is accountable for purchasing decisions, and the chief procurement
officer faces difficulties in making corrections because they are
viewed as only recommendations by the component heads, the report said.
DHS’ acquisition also is hampered by staffing shortages, the IG
noted. As of April 2008 the unit had 61 percent of the minimum required
staff and 38 percent of the contract specialists on board.
the Coast Guard has integrated three separate IT systems into a single
system for acquisition, construction and improvement data, the
department as an single entity needs to make more improvements in
deploying in information systems to track and analyze acquisition data
and improve user efficiency, the IG wrote.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.